As you pass the half way mark in NaNoWriMO, National Novel Writing Month, you may find some of your characters aren’t behaving as you planned. I usually start to build a character because I find a face that intrigues me. If you need a new character for NaNoWriMo, study the photos below. If you find one that inspires you, let me know!
We’re almost halfway through NaNoWriMo, and you may have hit a wall of writer’s block. It often happens when you are pouring yourself into a creative effort. Never fear. I’m providing writing prompts this month to break that block. Sometimes, a writer needs a new setting to suggest new characters and plot points to get their creative juices flowing again. In my first novel, A Shadow on the Snow, I had to watch how many scenes I had take place in vehicles and while eating. So examine the photos below for setting inspiration for NaNoWriMo. If you find something that snags your attentions, please leave your ideas in the comments.
For more settings prompts, click here. What are your favorite settings to write about?
Need plot points for NaNoWriMo? Now that NaNoWriMo is more than half over, you may be running out of inspiration, especially when it comes to plot. For me, keeping a plot fresh is the hardest part of writing. Below are some suggestions to reignite inspiration as you head toward your goal for NaNoWriMo.
Let settings suggest plots twists.
A chase in a blizzard is different from a chase in torrential downpour. Shadowing someone in New York City is different from shadowing someone at a county fair. When you delve deep into a setting, the unique qualities of it will suggest plot points.
Let characters’ personalities suggest plot twists.
Do you have a character who doesn’t bother to filter her comments? Let that habit kick off a plot twist. An introverted character who keeps a secret could serve a similar purpose.
If you have a cheerleader, make her a nice one. How would that change your plot? Turn your main character’s best friend–the quirky one with all the best lines– into an antagonist. Give your teen MC one parent who actually understands him. Fighting stereotypes can freshen your writing and produce potential plot points.
Have the main character lose something critical or gain something unexpected.
In my novel, A Shadow on the Snow, my teen detective Rae Riley is an amateur photographer. Shortly before her mother died, she gave Rae a camera. The camera is stolen during the story. That theft added so much to the plot.
What do you do when you need fresh ideas for plot?
My previous post was to encourage you to let your imagination soar during NaNoWriMo. My prompts for the month will help you with this task. First I have NaNoWriMo prompts for plot. Below are suggestions to bring propulsion to your plot if you find it bogging down.
- Your main character makes a new friend.
- Your main character makes a new enemy.
- The antagonist makes a new friend or enemy.
- Your main character loses something critical.
- Your main character finds something unexpected, either helpful or harmful.
- A friend reveals an unexpected trait. (This can be tricky because you want to surprise your reader, not shock them.)
- Your main character discovers a new virtue or flaw. (This is especially believable if you write YA.)
- Your main character does something he thinks is good but it turns out to be bad and vice versa.
- The antagonist does something he thinks will hurt someone and it turns out to be good for that character.
Since I write mysteries, I’ll list some prompts to help you if you find difficulties with your mystery plot.
- Your main character loses an important clue.
- The first main suspect becomes a victim of a crime.
- Your main character begins to suspect a friend or relative of the crime.
- A friend or relative of your main character comes under a threat.
- Officials make an arrest, and your main character thinks they have the wrong person.
- If your main character has an ally, the two characters fight and go their separate ways, at least for a while.
- A key witness changes her story.
- People in authority pressure your main character to drop the investigation. Or to solve it quickly.
- Your main character is injured. (Be careful with this one. If your main character is too seriously hurt, the focus of the story shifts to the injury and slows the pace. I read a mystery where the main character suffered so much from a concussion throughout the book that pretty soon I had a headache.)
- A chase of some kind, to rescue someone or gain a clue.
- Your main character tails someone, which can turn into a chase.
For more NaNoWriMo prompts, click here. What suggestions do you have for kick-starting a stalling plot?
Happy National Novel Writing Month! For those of you who haven’t heard of it, NaNoWriMo is an effort to help writers write 50,000 words for a novel in 30 days. (Why they picked the month with a major holiday in it, I don’t know. I would have preferred March, but I wasn’t consulted.) You can sign up at the official website or create your own goal and keep track of it yourself.
The Monday Sparks this month will be prompts for NaNoWriMo. Today’s prompt is a setting, but it can also inspire characters and plots as well.
Where are these rooms? The beds have been slept in, and one looks like a make-shift bed for a guest. A purse hangs on the couch-bed. Who lives here? Who is the guest? Why did the guest come? Was he expected or unexpected? Welcomed or received reluctantly?
For more prompts, check out all my Monday Sparks.
I’d love to hear your perspective on this scene!